This flew under the radar last week, but Dave at Eating Tampa snagged it.
The James Beard Foundation sent out ballots for its annual chef and restaurant awards to the judging committee, and New York Magazine leaked the list. Here's the shocker: Tampa has a couple of names on the list. And they're related. Guess who?
Jeannie Pierola is up for Best Chef in the South Region, with a lot of stiff competition from the Miami area and someone, egads!, from Punta Gorda. Bern's is up for the national Outstanding Restaurant award, a category filled with restaurants just as staid and tired as our local favorite. I wonder if Jeannie's departure from the old brothel will help or hurt either of their chances? It's probably bad news for Bern's, and good news for Jeannie.
Let's place bets: I'll give Bern's 2000 to 1 against and Jeannie 70 to 1 against victory.
Here are my predictions: Michael Schwartz of Michael's Genuine takes the South chef award and Magnolia Grill in NC takes Outstanding Restaurant. New Yorkers love that Southern food.
Winners will be announced in June.